Sunday, February 10, 2008

Populist Politics and It's Reasons

Every now and then, I keep hearing news about politicians indulging in populist politics in India. This concerns me. This seems to be an increasing trend. It's like democracy can be a detterent to a nation's long-term growth.

But, can the politicians be the only people to blame? They are to consider the mandate of the 'voters'. Can they help it if the voters are typically near-sighted? But, what is putting the far-sight citizens away from voting? I would assume that a vast bulk of these far-sighted citizens would be graduates or post-graduates. Most of these citizens could be persuing more rewarding careers / business. Could it be the long queues at polling stations and the cumbersome formalities that the 'far-sighted' ones cannot afford to spend time in, that is keeping them away from voting? Isn't that a serious neglect of citizens rights that there are such long wait times and formalities? Election Commision of India does choose the number of polling booths to operate and the formalities for voter registration. They take pride in greater turn-outs. But, what if 100% of near-sighted turn out and only 0% of far-sighted turn-out. Was the Indian Consitution flawed in allowing Election Commision excercise discretion in deciding the number of polling booths? On closer inspection, the Indian Constitution does provide a means for citizens to close loop-holes like these - its called the Public Interest Litigation (PIL). Wonder why there cannot be funds financed by 'Corporate Social Responsibility' (CSR) initiatives that take up issues like this through PIL? Systems Thinking can be applied to further discover key triggers for positive change. After all, spending Rs. X for charity through CSR is less beneficial than influencing Rs 1000 * X for welfare through Governmnet spend. It makes good corporate presentation meterial too.

Note: Do let me know if I missed something in making this argument. Apologies if I offended someone.
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